Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka and Cheryl Lim, 2023. “Bikol clefts and topics and the Austronesian extraction restriction.”
Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 41:3, pages 911–960. DOI: 10.1007/s11049-022-09555-0

Many Austronesian languages exhibit an extraction restriction whereby only one particular DP — the “pivot” argument, the choice of which is reflected by morphology on the verb — can be Ā-extracted. We show that such extraction restrictions can vary between different Ā-constructions in Bikol: local clefting is limited to the pivot, whereas topicalization can target pivots and non-pivot agents but not non-pivot themes of transitive verbs. Following the phase-theoretic, locality-based approach to such extraction asymmetries in related Austronesian languages, we propose that clefting and topicalization differ in the featural specifications of their probes, with clefting necessarily targeting the closest DP and topicalization simply seeking the closest topic constituent. Evidence for this approach comes from the behavior of long-distance clefting, which may target certain non-pivot arguments and involve gaps or resumptive pronouns. The inventory of different long-distance cleft types is explained by the possibility of embedded topicalization and hanging topic left dislocation feeding higher clefting. Our study strengthens the view that the classic Austronesian pivot-only extraction restriction is best characterized in terms of syntactic locality, rather than as a restriction on the grammatical function or morphological case of movement targets.